Know How / Soils

Expert advice on how to assess soil health and improve it to raise crop yields. Find out when to test your soil and how to interpret the test results. Improve the structure of your soil by encouraging earthworms, adding organic matter, improving drainage and growing cover crops.

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SOILS

7 ways to flood-proof soils and improve drainage

Arable growers need to follow a seven-point plan to improve their soil structure especially if, as expected, new farm support payments will depend on healthy soils. With many arable areas…

SOILS

How growers can help farming become carbon net zero 

Arable farmers will have a key role in helping the farming sector become net zero within 20 years, by locking up carbon and making better use of fuel and fertilisers.…

ROTATIONS

Pigs in the arable rotation - benefits and what to consider

Outdoor pig production could be a profitable opportunity for arable farmers looking to widen their crop rotation and reduce chemical use, especially for weed control. Integrating pigs into the arable…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

How to avoid the top 3 micronutrient deficiencies in cereals

Needed in such finite quantities, micronutrients can be easily overlooked as another expense, with deficiencies putting cereal yields at risk as well as leading to crops that are more susceptible…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

Early N is first step in rescuing waterlogged wheat crops

Applying early nitrogen (N) and phosphate fertiliser to wheat crops is the starting point for nursing them back to health, as farmers look to minimise the effect of waterlogging on…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How Yen growers delivered monster OSR and cereal yields

A winter wheat crop by Lincolnshire grower Mark Stubbs yielded 16.3t/ha to take the top prize in the Adas-organised Yield Enhancement Network (Yen) competition in 2019. Following good use of…

Case studies

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CROP MANAGEMENT

How a YEN winner grew top-yielding wheat and OSR crops

Award-winning winter wheat and oilseed rape yields are being produced by Lincolnshire grower Mark Stubbs from a farm that just six years ago was seeing yields being strangled by a bad blackgrass…

SOILS

Mixed farm invests in direct drill for shift to no-till

Hefty spending on a new cereal drill and a robotic milking system demonstrates how one big Shropshire estate is looking to leave farming a in better shape for the next…

COVER CROPS

How catch crops cut one grower's costs and improved soils

After 10 years of successful cover cropping, Kent grower Guy Eckley has added catch crops to his rotation with the aim of accelerating the benefits to his soil health. These…

BLACKGRASS

Why one grower went organic to tackle blackgrass problem

Faced with a bad blackgrass problem, Worcestershire grower Adrian Steele made the bold move of going organic to successfully reduce his weed problem and improve soil health. Chapel Farm, near…

SOILS

How a Sussex grower successfully undersows maize with grass

West Sussex grower Frans de Boer is successfully using a low-cost method of undersowing maize with a blend of fescues to enhance soil health, reduce soil erosion and promote organic…

WEED MANAGEMENT

Organic grower turns to sheep to control weeds

Shropshire organic grower Mark Lea was concerned that docks might become a nuisance weed on his farm and, as he could not reach for a chemical can, he turned to…

Insights

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NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

Grain testing project aims to improve crop nutrition

Farmers and agronomists could soon benefit from a new Adas initiative aimed at improving crop nutrition, by testing grain and benchmarking results. Work carried out as part of the Yield…

SOILS

5 ways government policy can encourage soil-first farming

A lack of soil protection legislation has been a “catastrophic failure” by politicians, allowing costly degradation to continue relatively unabated until today, according to Reading University’s Chris Collins. European water…

SOILS

Overlooked soil disease can halve oilseed rape yields

A soil-borne pathogen found in wheat and oilseed rape crops can cut rapeseed yields by up to 50%, and experts suggest growers need to look at longer rotations and cultivation…

SOILS

Top tips to achieve more resilient and sustainable soils

One of the most common questions for farmers relating to “soil health” is how best to measure it and monitor progress once they have embarked on a mission to improve…

Latest soils news

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LIVESTOCK

Trial looks at how much carbon soils can lock up

Farmers will soon be able to gain a better understanding of how much carbon soils are able to lock up, thanks to a new trial. Independent dairy specialist Kingshay is…

SOILS

New tool helps farmers assess changes in soil quality

Farmers can now assess the value of any improvements to soil health, thanks to a new tool that accurately measures soil quality. The "soils matrix" tool assesses several factors relating…

COVER CROPS

Research shows cover crops can triple worm numbers

New research has found that growing cover crops and reducing cultivations can triple earthworm numbers, resulting in healthier soil. Earthworms are a key indicator of soil health as their activity…

ESTABLISHMENT

Two growers find no-tillage success in dry and wet soils

Flexibility is the key to success for two no-tillage converts who farms very different arable areas – in some of the driest and wettest areas of Britain.  Simon Cowell has…

Video

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DRILLING

Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…

SOILS

Drainage contractor splashes £400k on state-of-the-art plough

Mastenbroek has built its first UK-bound trenchless drainage plough in more than thirty years for Warwickshire-based Farm Services, which is keen to satisfy a resurgent number of farmers requesting field-scale…

SUGAR BEET

Video: Sugar beet drilling starts as growers play catch-up

Sugar beet drilling is racing ahead between the rain showers on light land with one Suffolk Brecklands estate looking to catch up from its latest start in more than a…

BLACKGRASS

Video: The plan that battered blackgrass in 12 months

Three Cambridgeshire growers are fighting back against a heavy yield penalty imposed by blackgrass with a new establishment system and have seen a dramatic turnaround in just 12 months. Declining…